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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography


published in Vol. VII
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. VII) Strabo

p3 Book XV, Chapter 1

(sections 1‑25)

1 (685) The parts still left of Asia are those outside the Taurus except Cilicia and Pamphylia and Lycia, I mean the parts extending from India as far as the Nile and lying between the Taurus and the outer sea on the south.1 After Asia one comes to Libya, which I shall describe later, but I must now begin with India, for it is the first and largest country that lies out towards the east.

2 But it is necessary for us to hear accounts of this country with indulgence, for not only is it farthest away from us, but not many of our people have seen it; and even those who have seen it, have seen only parts of it, and the greater part of what they say is from hearsay; and even what they saw they learned on a hasty passage with an army through the country. Wherefore they do not give out the same accounts of the same things, even though they have written these accounts as though their statements had been carefully confirmed. And some of them were both on the same expedition together and made their sojourns together, like those who helped Alexander to subdue Asia; yet they all frequently contradict one p5another. But if they differ thus about what was seen, what must we think of what they report from hearsay?

3 Moreover, most of those who have written anything about this region in much later times, and those who sail there at the present time, do not present any accurate information either. 686 At any rate, Apollodorus, who wrote The Parthica, when he mentions the Greeks who caused Bactriana to revolt from the Syrian kings who succeeded Seleucus Nicator, says that when those kings had grown in power they also attacked India, but he reveals nothing further than what was already known, and even contradicts what was known, saying that those kings subdued more of India than the Macedonians; that Eucratidas, at any rate, held a thousand cities as his subjects. Those other writers, however, say that merely the tribes between the Hydaspes and the Hypanis were nine in number, and that they had five thousand cities, no one of which was smaller than the Meropian Cos, and that Alexander subdued the whole of this country and gave it over to Porus.

4 As for the merchants who now sail from Aegypt by the Nile and the Arabian Gulf as far as India, only a small number have sailed as far as the Ganges; and even these are merely private citizens and of no use as regards the history of the places they have seen. But from India, from one place and from one king, I mean Pandion, or another Porus, there came to Caesar Augustus presents and gifts p7of honour and the Indian sophist who burnt himself up at Athens,2 as Calanus had done, who made a similar spectacular display of himself before Alexander.

5 If, however, one should dismiss these accounts and observe the records of the country prior to the expedition of Alexander, one would find things still more obscure. Now it is reasonable to suppose that Alexander believed such records because he was blinded by his numerous good fortunes; at any rate, Nearchus says that Alexander conceived an ambition to lead his army through Gedrosia when he learned that both Semiramis and Cyrus had made an expedition against the Indians, and that Semiramis had turned back in flight with only twenty people and Cyrus with seven; and that Alexander thought how grand it would be, when those had met with such reverses, if he himself should lead a whole victorious army safely through the same tribes and regions.3 Alexander, therefore, believed these accounts.

6 But as for us, what just credence can we place in the accounts of India derived from such an expedition made by Cyrus, or Semiramis? And Megasthenes virtually agrees with this reasoning when he bids us to have no faith in the ancient stories about the Indians; for, he says, neither was an army ever sent outside the country by the Indians nor did any outside army ever invade their country and master them, except that with Heracles and Dionysus and that in our times with the Macedonians. However, Sesostris, the Aegyptian, he adds, and Tearco the Aethiopian advanced as far as Europe; 687 and Nabocodrosor, who enjoyed greater p9repute among the Chaldaeans than Heracles, led an army even as far as the Pillars. Thus far, he says, also Tearco went; and Sesostris also led his army from Iberia to Thrace and the Pontus; and Idanthyrsus the Scythian overran Asia as far as Aegypt; but no one of these touched India, and Semiramis too died before the attempt; and, although the Persians summoned the Hydraces as mercenary troops from India, the latter did not make an expedition to Persia, but only came near it when Cyrus was marching against the Massagetae.

7 As for the stories of Hercules and Dionysus, Megasthenes with a few others considers them trustworthy; but most other writers, among whom is Eratosthenes, consider them untrustworthy and mythical, like the stories current among the Greeks. For instance, in the Bacchae4 of Euripides Dionysus says with youthful bravado as follows: "I have left behind me the gold-bearing glades of Lydia and Phrygia, and I have visited the sun-stricken plains of Persia, the walled towns of Bactria, the wintry land of the Medes, and Arabia the blest, and the whole of Asia."5 In Sophocles, also, there is someone who hymns the praises of Nysa as the mountain sacred to Dionysus: "Whence I beheld the famous Nysa, ranged in Bacchic frenzy by mortals, which the horned Iacchus roams as his own sweetest nurse, where — what bird exists that singeth not there?" And so forth. And he is also called "Merotraphes." And Homer says of p11Lycurgus the Edonian as follows: "Who once drove the nurses of frenzied Dionysus down over the sacred mount of Nysa."6 So much for Dionysus. But, regarding Heracles, some tell the story that he went in the opposite direction only, as far as the extreme limits on the west, whereas others say that he went to both extreme limits.

8 From such stories, accordingly, writers have named a certain tribe of people "Nysaeans," and a city among them "Nysa," founded by Dionysus; they have named a mountain above the city "Merus," alleging as the cause of the name the ivy that grows there, as also the vine, which latter does not reach maturity either; for on account of excessive rains the bunches of grapes fall off before they ripen; and they say that the Sydracae are descendants of Dionysus, judging from the vine in their country and from their costly processions, since the kings not only make their expeditions out of their country in Bacchic fashion, 688 but also accompany all other processions with a beating of drums and with flowered robes, a custom which is also prevalent among the rest of the Indians. When Alexander, at one assault, took Aornus,a a rock at the foot of which, near its sources, the Indus River flows, his exalters said that Heracles thrice attacked this rock and thrice was repulsed; and that the Sibae were descendants of those who shared with Heracles in the expedition, and that they retained badges of their descent, in that they wore skins like Heracles, carried clubs, and branded their cattle and mules with the mark of a club. And they further confirm this p13myth by the stories of the Caucasus and Prometheus, for they have transferred all this thither on a slight pretext, I mean because they saw a sacred cave in the country of the Paropamisadae; for they set forth that this cave was the prison of Prometheus and that this was the place whither Heracles came to release Prometheus, and that this was the Caucasus the Greeks declared to be the prison of Prometheus.

9 But that these stories are fabrications of the flatterers of Alexander is obvious; first, not only from the fact that the historians do not agree with one another, and also because, while some relate them, others make no mention whatever of them; for it is unreasonable to believe that exploits so famous and full of romance were unknown to any historian, or, if known, that they were regarded as unworthy of recording, and that too by the most trustworthy of the historians; and, secondly, from the fact that not even the intervening peoples, through whose countries Dionysus and Heracles and their followers would have had to pass in order to reach India, can show any evidence that these made a journey through their country. Further, such accoutrement of Heracles is much later than the records of the Trojan War, being a fabrication of the authors of the Heracleia,7 whether the author was Peisander or someone else. The ancient statues of Heracles are not thus accoutred.

10 So, in cases like these, one must accept everything that is nearest to credibility. I have already in my first discussion of the subject of geography8 made decisions, as far as I could, about these matters. And now I shall unhesitatingly use those decisions p15as accepted, and shall also add anything else that seems required for the purpose of clearness. It was particularly apparent from my former discussion that the summary account set forth in the third book of his geography by Eratosthenes of what was in his time regarded as India, that is, when Alexander invaded the country, is the most trustworthy; and the Indus River was the boundary between India and Ariana, which latter was situated next to India on the west and was in the possession of the Persians at that time; 689 for later the Indians also held much of Ariana, having received it from the Macedonians. And the account given by Eratosthenes is as follows:

11 India is bounded on the north, from Ariana to the eastern sea, by the extremities9 of the Taurus, which by the natives are severally called "Paropamisus" and "Emodus" and "Imaüs" and other names, but by the Macedonians "Caucasus"; on the west by the Indus River; but the southern and eastern sides, which are much greater than the other two, extend out into the Atlantic sea, and thus the shape of the country becomes rhomboidal, each of the greater sides exceeding the opposite side by as much as three thousand stadia, which is the same number of stadia by which the cape10 common to the eastern and southern coast extends equally farther out in either direction than the rest of the shore. Now the length of the western side from the Caucasian Mountains to the southern sea is generally called thirteen thousand stadia, p17I mean along the Indus River to its outlets, so that the length of the opposite side, the eastern, if one adds the three thousand of the cape, will be sixteen thousand stadia. These, then, are the minimum and maximum breadths of the country. The lengths are reckoned from the west to the east; and, of these, that to Palibothra can be told with more confidence, for it has been measured with measuring-lines,11 and there is a royal road of ten thousand stadia. The extent of the parts beyond Palibothra is a matter of guess, depending upon the voyages made from the sea on the Ganges to Palibothra; and this would be something like six thousand stadia. The entire length of the country, at its minimum, will be sixteen thousand stadia, as taken from the Register of Days' Journeys that is most commonly accepted, according to Eratosthenes; and, in agreement with him, Megasthenes states the same thing, though Patrocles says a thousand stadia less. If to this distance, however, one adds the distance that the cape extends out into the sea still farther towards the east, the extra three thousand stadia will form the maximum length;12 and this constitutes the distance from the outlets of the Indus River along the shore that comes next in order thereafter, to the aforesaid cape, that is, to the eastern limits of India. Here live the Coniaci, as they are called.

12 From this one can see how much the accounts of the other writers differ. Ctesias says that India is not smaller than the rest of Asia; Onesicritus that p19it is a third part of the inhabited world: Nearchus that the march merely through the plain itself takes four months; 690 but Megasthenes and Deïmachus are more moderate in their estimates, for they put the distance from the southern sea to the Caucasus at "above twenty thousand stadia," although Deïmachus says that "at some places the distance is above thirty thousand stadia;" but I have replied to these writers in my first discussion of India.13 At present it is sufficient to say that this statement of mine agrees with that of those writers who ask our pardon if, in anything they say about India, they do not speak with assurance.

13 The whole of India is traversed by rivers. Some of these flow together into the two largest rivers, the Indus and the Ganges, whereas others empty into the sea by their own mouths. They have their sources, one and all, in the Caucasus; and they all flow first towards the south, and then, though some of them continue to flow in the same direction, in particular those which flow into the Indus, others bend towards the east, as, for example, the Ganges. Now the Ganges, which is the largest of the rivers in India, flows down from the mountainous country, and when it reaches the plains bends towards the east and flows past Palibothra, a very large city, and then flows on towards the sea in that region and empties by a single outlet. But the Indus empties by two mouths into the southern sea, encompassing the country called Patalenê, which is similar to the Delta of Aegypt. It is due to the vapours arising from all these rivers and to the Etesian winds, as Eratosthenes says, that India is p21watered by the summer rains and that the plains become marshes. Now in the rainy seasons flax is sown, and also millet, and, in addition to these, sesame and rice and bosmorum,14 and in the winter seasons wheat and barley and pulse and other edibles with which we are unacquainted. I might almost say that the same animals are to be found in India as in Aethiopia and Aegypt, and that the Indian rivers have all the other river animals except the hippopotamus, although Onesicritus says that the hippopotamus is also to be found in India. As for the people of India, those in the south are like the Aethiopians in colour, although they are like the rest in respect to countenance and hair (for on account of the humidity of the air their hair does not curl), whereas those in the north are like the Aegyptians.

14 As for Taprobanê,15 it is said to be an island situated in the high sea within a seven days' sail towards the south from the most southerly parts of India, the land of the Coniaci; that it extends in length about eight thousand stadia16 in the direction of Aethiopia, and that it also has elephants. Such are the statements of Eratosthenes; but my own description will be specially characterised by the addition of 691 the statements of the other writers, wherever they add any accurate information.

15 Onesicritus, for example, says of Taprobanê that it is "five thousand stadia in size," without distinguishing its length or breadth; and that it is a twenty days' voyage distant from the mainland, but p23that it is a difficult voyage for ships that are poorly furnished with sails and are constructed without belly-ribs on both sides;17 and that there are also other islands between Taprobanê and India, though Taprobanê is farthest south; and that amphibious monsters are to be found round it, some of which are like kine, others like horses, and others like other land-animals.

16 Nearchus, speaking of the alluvia deposited by the rivers, gives the following examples: that the Plain of the Hermus River, and that of the Cayster, as also those of the Maeander and the Caïcus, are so named because they are increased, or rather created, by the silt that is carried down from the mountains over the plains — that is all the silt that is fertile and soft; and that it is carried down by the rivers, so that the plains are, in fact, the offspring, as it were, of these rivers; and that it is well said that they belong to these. This is the same as the statement made by Herodotus in regard to the Nile and the land that borders thereon, that the land is the gift of the Nile;18 and for this reason Nearchus rightly says that the Nile was also called by the same name as the land Aegyptus.

17 Aristobulus says that only the mountains and their foothills have both rain and snow, but that the plains are free alike from rain and snow, and are inundated only when the rivers rise; that the mountains have snow in the winter-time, and at the p25beginning of spring-time the rains also set in and ever increase more and more, and at the time of the Etesian winds the rains pour unceasingly and violently from the clouds, both day and night, until the rising of Arcturus; and that, therefore, the rivers, thus filled from both the snows and the rains, water the plains. He says that both he himself and the others noted this when they had set out for India from Paropamisadae, after the setting of the Pleiades, and when they spent the winter near the mountainous country in the land of the Hypasians and of Assacanus, and that at the beginning of spring they went down into the plains and to Taxila, a large city, and thence to the Hydaspes River and the country of Porus; that in winter, however, no water was to be seen, but only snow; and that it first rained at Taxila; and that when, after they had gone down to the Hydaspes River and had conquered Porus, their journey led to the Hypanis River towards the east and thence back again to the Hydaspes, it rained continually, and especially at the time of the Etesian winds; but that when Arcturus rose, the rain ceased; and that after tarrying while their ships were being built on the Hydaspes River, and after beginning their voyage thence only a few days before the setting of the Pleiades, and, after occupying themselves all autumn and winter and the coming spring and summer with their voyage down to the seacoast, 692 they arrived at Patalenê at about the time of the rising of the Dog Star; that the voyage down to the seacoast therefore took ten months, and that they saw rains nowhere, not even when the Etesian winds were at their height, and that the plains were flooded when the rivers p27were filled, and the sea was not navigable when the winds were blowing in the opposite direction, and that no land breezes succeeded them.

18 Now this is precisely what Nearchus says too, but he does not agree with Aristobulus about the summer rains, saying the plains have rains in summer but are without rains in winter. Both writers, however, speak also of the risings of the rivers. Nearchus says that when they were camping near the Acesines River they were forced at the time of the rising to change to a favourable place higher up, and that this took place at the time of the summer solstice; whereas Aristobulus gives also the measure of the height to which the river rises, forty cubits, of which cubits twenty are filled by the stream above its previous depth to the margin and the other twenty are the measure of the overflow in the plains. They agree also that the cities situated on the top of mounds become islands, as is the case also in Aegypt and Aethiopia, and that the overflows cease after the rising of Arcturus, when the waters recede; and they add that although the soil is sown when only half-dried, after being furrowed by any sort of digging-instrument,19 yet the plant comes to maturity and yields excellent fruit. The rice, according to Aristobulus, stands in water enclosures and is sown in beds; and the plant is four cubits in height, not only having many ears but also yielding much grain; and the harvest is about the time of the setting of the Pleiades, and p29the grain is winnowed like barley; and rice grows also in Bactriana and Babylonia and Susis, as also in Lower Syria. Megillus says that rice is sown before the rains, but requires irrigation and transplanting,20 being watered from tanks. Bosmorum, according to Onesicritus, is a smaller grain than wheat; and it grows in lands situated between rivers. It is roasted when it is threshed out, since the people take an oath beforehand that they will not carry it away unroasted from the threshing-floor, to prevent the exportation of seed.

19 Aristobulus, comparing the characteristics of this country that are similar to those of both Aegypt and Aethiopia, and again those that are opposite thereto, I mean the fact that the Nile is flooded from the southern rains, whereas at Indian rivers are flooded from the northern, 693 inquires why the intermediate regions have no rainfall; for neither the Thebaïs as far as Syenê and the region of Meroê nor the region of India from Patalenê as far as the Hydaspes has any rain. But the country above these parts, in which both rain and snow fall, are cultivated, he says, in the same way as in the rest of country that is outside India; for, he adds, it is watered by the rains and snows. And it is reasonable to suppose from his statements that the land is also quite subject to earthquakes, since it is made porous by reason of its great humidity and is subject to such fissures that even the beds of rivers are changed. At any rate, he says that when he was sent upon a certain mission he saw a country p31of more than a thousand cities, together with villages, that had been deserted because the Indus had abandoned its proper bed, and had turned aside into the other bed on the left that was much deeper, and flowed with precipitous descent like a cataract, so that the Indus no longer watered by its overflows the abandoned country on the right, since that country was now above the level, not only of the new stream, but also of its overflows.

20 The flooding of the rivers and the absence of land breezes is confirmed also by the statement of Onesicritus; for he says that the seashore is covered with shoal-water, and particularly at the mouths of the rivers, on account of the silt, the flood-tides, and the prevalence of the winds from the high seas. Megasthenes indicates the fertility of India by saying that it produces fruit and grain twice a year. And so says Eratosthenes, who speaks of the winter sowing and the summer sowing, and likewise of rain; for he says that he finds that no year is without rain in both seasons; so that, from this fact, the country has good seasons, never failing to produce crops; and that the trees there produce fruits in abundance, and the roots of plants, in particular those of large reeds, which are sweet both by nature and by heating, since the water from the sky as well as that of the rivers is warmed by the rays of the sun. In a sense, therefore, Eratosthenes means to say that what among other peoples is called "the ripening," whether of fruits or of juices, is called among those people a "heating," and that ripening is as effective in producing a good flavour as heating by fire. For this reason also, he adds, the branches of the trees from which the wheels of carriages are p33made are flexible; and for the same reason even wool21 blossoms on some. From this wool, Nearchus says, finely threaded cloths are woven, and the Macedonians use them for pillows and as padding for their saddles. 694 The Serica22 also are of this kind, Byssus23 being dried out of certain barks. He states also concerning the reeds,24 that they produce honey, although there are no bees, and in fact that there is a fruit-bearing tree from the fruit of which honey is compounded, but that those who eat the fruit raw become intoxicated.

21 In truth, India produces numerous strange trees, among which is the one whose branches bend downwards and whose leaves are no smaller than a shield. Onesicritus, who even in rather superfluous detail describes the country of Musicanus, which, he says, is the most southerly part of India, relates that it has some great trees whose branches have first grown to the height of twelve cubits, and then, after such growth, have grown downwards, as though bent down, till they have touched the earth; and that they then, thus distributed, have taken root underground like layers, and then, growing forth, have formed trunks; and that the branches of these trunks again, likewise bent down in their growth, have formed another layer, and then another, and so on successively, so that from only one tree there is formed a vast sunshade, like a tent with many p35supporting columns.25 He says also of the size of trees that their trunks could hardly be embraced by five men. Aristobulus also, where he mentions the Acesines and its confluence with the Hyarotis, speaks of the trees that have their branches bent downwards and of such size that fifty horsemen — according to Onesicritus, four hundred — can pass the noon in shade under one tree. Aristobulus mentions also another tree, not large, with pods, like the bean, ten fingers in length, full of honey, and says that those who eat it cannot easily be saved from death. But the accounts of all writers of the size of the trees have been surpassed by those who say that there has been seen beyond the Hyarotis a tree which casts a shade at noon of five stadia. And as for the wool-bearing trees, Aristobulus says that the flower contains a seed, and that when this is removed the rest is combed like wool.

22 Aristobulus speaks also of a self-grown grain, similar to wheat, in the country of Musicanus, and of a vine from which wine is produced, although the other writers say that India has no wine; and therefore, according to Anacharsis, it also has no flutes, or any other musical instruments except cymbals and drums and castanets, which are possessed by the jugglers. Both he and other writers speak of this country as abounding in herbs and roots both curative and poisonous, and likewise in plants of many colours. And Aristobulus adds that they have a law whereby any person who discovers anything deadly is put to death unless he also discovers a cure for it, 695 but if that person discovers a p37cure he receives a reward from the king. And he says that the southern land of India, like Arabia and Aethiopia, bears cinnamon, nard, and other aromatic products, being similar to those countries in the effect of the rays of sun, although it surpasses them in the copiousness of its waters; and that therefore its air is humid and proportionately more nourishing and more productive; and that this applies both to the land and to the water, and therefore, of course, both land and water animals in India are found to be larger than those in other countries; but that the Nile is more productive than other rivers, and produces huge creatures, among others the amphibious kind; and that the Aegyptian women sometimes actually bear four children. Aristotle reports that one woman actually bore seven; and he, too, calls the Nile highly productive and nourishing because of the moderate heat of the sun's rays, which, he says, leave the nourishing element and evaporate merely the superfluous.

23 It is probably from the same cause, as Aristotle says, that this too takes place — I mean that the water of the Nile boils with one-half the heat required by any other. But in proportion, he says, as the water of the Nile traverses in a straight course a long and narrow tract of country and passes across many "climata"26 and through many atmospheres, whereas the streams of India spread into greater and wider plains, lingering for a long time in the same "climata," in the same proportion those of India are more nourishing than those of the Nile; and on p39this account their river animals are also larger and more numerous; and further, he says, the water is already heated when it pours from the clouds.

24 To this statement Aristobulus and his followers, who assert that the plains are not watered by rain, would not agree. But Onesicritus believes that rain-water is the cause of the distinctive differences in the animals; and he adduces as evidence that the colour of foreign cattle which drink it is changed to that of the native animals. Now in this he is correct; but no longer so when he lays the black complexion and woolly hair of the Aethiopians on merely the waters and censures Theodectes,27 who refers the cause to the sun itself, saying as follows: "Nearing the borders of these people the Sun, driving his chariot, discoloured the bodies of men with a murky dark bloom, and curled their hair, fusing it by unincreasable forms of fire." But Onesicritus might have some argument on his side; for he says that, in the first place, the sun is no nearer the Aethiopians than to any other people, but is more nearly in a perpendicular line with reference to them and on this account scorches more, and therefore it is incorrect to say, "Nearing the borders . . . the sun," since the sun is equidistant from all peoples; and that, secondly, the heat is not the cause of such a discolouration, 696 for it does not apply to infants in the womb either, since the rays of the sun do not touch them. But better is the opinion of those who lay the cause to the sun and its scorching, which causes a very great deficiency of moisture on the surface of the skin. And I assert that it is in accordance p41with this fact that the Indians do not have woolly hair, and also that their skin is not so unmercifully scorched, I mean the fact that they share in an atmosphere that is humid. And already in the womb children, by seminal impartation, become like their parents in colour; for congenital affections and other similarities are also thus explained. Further, the statement28 that the sun is equidistant from all peoples is made in accordance with observation, not reason; and, in accordance with observations that are not casual, but in accordance with the observation, as I put it, that the earth is no larger than a point as compared with the sun's globe; since in accordance with the kind of observation whereby we feel differences in heat — more heat when the heat is near us and less when it is far away — the sun is not equidistant from all; and it is in this sense that the sun is spoken of29 as "nearing the borders" of the Aethiopians, not in the sense Onesicritus thinks.

25 The following, too, is one of the things agreed upon by all who maintain the resemblance of India to Aegypt and Aethiopia: that all plains which are not inundated are unproductive for want of water. Nearchus says that the question formerly raised in reference to the Nile as to the source of its floodings is answered by the Indian rivers, because it is the result of the summer rains; but that when Alexander saw crocodiles in the Hydaspes and Aegyptian beans in the Acesines, he thought he had found the sources of the Nile and thought of preparing a fleet for an expedition to Aegypt, thinking that he would sail as p43far as there by this river, but he learned a little later that he could not accomplish what he had hoped; "for between are great rivers and dreadful streams, Oceanus first,"30 into which all the Indian rivers empty; and then intervene Ariana, and the Persian and the Arabian Gulfs and Arabia itself and the Troglodyte country.

Such, then, are the accounts we have of the winds and the rains, and of the flooding of the rivers, and of the inundation of the plains.

The Editor's Notes:

1 i.e. the Indian Ocean.

2 See 15.1.73.

3 For a similar statement, see 15.2.5.

4 13 ff.

5 Quoted also in 1.2.20.

6 Iliad 6.132.

7 Adventures of Heracles.

8 2.1.1 ff.

9 See 11.8.1 and footnote 3.

10 i.e. Cape Comorin.

11 Or, by a slight emendation of the text, "in terms of the schoenus" (see critical note and cf. 11.14.11).

The critical note reads:

σχοινίοις, Corais emends to σχοίνοις.

12 i.e. 19,000 stadia.

13 2.1.4 ff.

14 See § 18 following.

15 On Taprobanê (Ceylon), cf. Pliny 6.24 (22) ff.º

16 See 2.1.14, where Strabo says five thousand (see critical note).

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

ὀκτακισχιλίων, Meineke, following Groskurd, emends to πεντακισχιλίων (see Groskurd, Vol. III, p117, note 2).

17 Pliny (6.24 [22]) says, "navibus utrimque prorae, ne per angustias alvei circumagi sit necesse" ("the ships have prows at either end, in order that it may not be necessary to tack while navigating the narrow passages of the channel"). Meineke, following the conjecture of Kramer, emends the words of Strabo to make them more in accord with those of Pliny (see critical note).

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

Before ἐγκοιλίων, Meineke inserts πρώραις.

18 Cp. 1.2.29.

19 Cf. 7.4.6 and footnote on "digging-instrument."

20 See critical note.

The critical note to the Greek text (ἀρδείας δὲ καὶ φυτείας δεῖσθαι) reads:

Corais inserts μή before δεῖσθαι; so Meineke.

21 i.e. cotton.

22 i.e. the threads of which the Seres make their garments (see Pausanias 6.26.4 and Frazer's note thereon).

23 By "Byssus" Strabo undoubtedly means silk, supposing it to be a kind of cotton (see Miss Richter's article on "Silk in Greece," Am. Jour. Arch., Jan.-March, 1929, pp27‑33).

24 i.e. sugar-cane.

25 The banyan tree (Ficus Bengalensis).

26 i.e. "belts of latitude" (see Vol. I, p22, footnote 2).

Thayer's Note: To put that explanation in context, see the article Clima in Smith's Dictionary.

27 "Theodectas" is probably the correct spelling (see I.G. II.977).

28 i.e. of Onesicritus.

29 i.e. by Theodectes.

30 Odyssey 11.157.

Thayer's Note:

a The story is told in Diodorus, XVII.85; for a map, good photos, and further references, see also Jona Lendering's page.

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Page updated: 25 Sep 12